|26 Feb 2010 - 27 Feb 2010
|CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge
Download the Moving Image conference poster.
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The past twenty years saw increasing cinematic investment in grief and mourning at the multiplex and at the art house, exemplified in releases ranging from high profile blockbusters – Schindler’s List (1993), Deep Impact (1998) – to modest arthouse titles – Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990), Three Colours: Blue (1993), Festen (1998), Morvern Callar (2001). This efflorescence took place against televised wars and genocides in Kosovo, Rwanda and Iraq, and the events of 9/11 and the ‘War on Terror’. The decline of Communism made the closing years of the 20th century seem to many like an era of endings, fuelling millennial anxieties and emphasizing the transience of institutions and human life alike. This conference is informed by the paradox that, whilst death for the contemporary individual seems remote from quotidian consciousness, in recent years, experiences of human demise seemed to be omnipresent in all forms of media representations – from the art house movie to internet memorialization. Many of these treatments seemed to hint at cinema’s special affinity for presence and absence, which is why this conference aims to address the aesthetic and institutional origins and characteristics of this efflorescence of ‘mourning films’ after trauma studies and in the wake of the Benjaminian ‘age of mechanical reproduction’. Drawing on papers from fields such as history, psychology, anthropology, sociology, counselling and architecture, and theorists from Mulvey, Deleuze, Frampton, and Kübler-Ross and William Worden, this conference asks whether the identification of a genre defined in reference to a very specific field of representation throws light upon the use of the moving image in other educational and institutional settings such as academic departments of psychology and social work, and the grief therapy session and whether, in an era so reticent about death, the moving image could be seen as a space in which issues around loss can be explored.
Issues considered in the conference will consist, but not be limited, to the following:
The aesthetic treatment of grief and mourning in the moving image;
The moving image as a site of expression, elucidation and relief;
Historical attitudes to death embodied in public ritual, art and memorialization;
Death and the modern community;
Testamentary, journalistic and literary reflections on death and loss;
Therapeutic and psychoanalytical accounts of bereavement and mourning;
The subversive or fugitive representation of death;
The ‘mourning film’ as a genre.
Accommodation for Delegates
This event is generously supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), The French Embassy, the Society for French Studies, the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University and Lenore Ruben.
Administrative assistance: Anna Malinowska (Conference Programme Manager, CRASSH)